Deep in the heart of Texas there are some good things happening for women on bikes, and a lot of room for growth. The state ranks 25th in the USA by the League of American Bicyclists. It has ten certified Bicycle Friendly Communities but only one beyond the Bronze level (Austin, which is Gold). Throughout the state, I did find lots of women’s cycling and mountain biking groups, including a group named Team Snacks that offers a “Slow Roll” in Austin (but that’s still 20-30 miles), and a group named Pathfinders Fun Cycling in the Dallas/Forth Worth area that rides predominantly on multiuse paths (but requires you to be able to average at least 10 miles per hour for at least five miles). There are also Black Girls Do Bikes chapters in San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas. And you gotta give a shoutout to the role bikes played in helping people get around and to deliver needed supplies after 2017’s Hurricane Harvey killed people, destroyed neighborhoods, and flooded more than a thousand motor vehicles in car-dependent Houston.
To be honest, however, the pickings were pretty slim when I searched for examples of regular, everyday transportation bike riding. Perhaps the fact that Texas has neither a safe passing law nor any vulnerable road user laws plays a part in the lack of utilitarian bike riding I’m finding.
I do like that a nonprofit named The Yellow Bike Project has been helping people access bikes for more than twenty years now and encourages more bike riding on the streets of Austin. Speaking specifically of Austin, its voters approved millions of dollars in bonds for transportation projects throughout the city over the next few years so I think we’ll be seeing some amazing progress in access-for-all bike infrastructure there. It continues to be the city to watch for women on bikes, and, in fact, if I were looking for a place to relocate, it is the only one that would be on my “explore more” list.